, Volume 70, Issue 3, pp 285–297 | Cite as

Dear Haecceitism

  • Delia Graff FaraEmail author
Original Article


If a counterpart theorist’s understanding of the counterpart relation precludes haecceitist differences between possible worlds, as David Lewis’s does, how can he admit haecceitist possibilities, as Lewis wants to? Lewis (Philosophical Review 3–32, 1983; On the Plurality of Worlds, 1986) devised what he called a ‘cheap substitute for haecceitism,’ which would allow for haecceitist possibilities while preserving the counterpart relation as a purely qualitative one. The solution involved lifting an earlier (Journal of Philosophy 65(5):113–126, 1968; 68(7):203–211, 1971) ban on there being multiple intra-world counterparts. I argue here that serious problems for ‘cheap haecceitism’ lurk very close to its surface, and they emerge when we consider the effect of using an actuality operator in our language. Among the most serious of the problems is the result that being the case in some possible world does not always suffice for possibly being the case. The result applies to any counterpart theory that employs a purely qualitative counterpart relation. The upshot is that if we are to admit haecceitist possibilities, as we should, then we must reject any purely qualitative relation as the one involved in the analysis of what might have been for an individual.


Actuality Operator Actual World Qualitative Description Counterpart Relation Counterpart Theory 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philosophy DepartmentPrinceton UniversityPrincetonUSA

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